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Back Local News Immigration reform bill in US Congress includes CNMI

Immigration reform bill in US Congress includes CNMI

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SAIPAN – The comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the U.S. Senate includes a provision allowing qualified nonresidents in the commonwealth to become CNMI-only residents while allowing them to apply for a “green card” – permanent U.S. residency – Variety learned.

The nonresidents covered by the bill include CNMI permanent residents, those born here from Jan. 1, 1974 to Jan. 9, 1978, spouses and immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and those who have been here legally since May 2003.

The full text of the bill can be seen at http://www.scribd.com/doc/136436529/Gang-of-Eight-Immigration-Proposal.

The original federalization bill also included a provision that would have granted improved status to qualified CNMI guest workers, but it was later scrapped.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that President Barack Obama embraced a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration system put forward by a bipartisan group of senators, saying it was "largely consistent" with his own principles for immigration reform.

The Democratic president, who had said previously that he would submit his own bill if he was not satisfied with the Senate proposal, urged Congress to "quickly move" the measure forward and pledged to do "whatever it takes" to help.

He spoke after meeting with two of the measure's chief sponsors, Sens. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, and Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

Obama's endorsement and the bipartisan support for the bill improves its chances for passage but by no means ensures it.

The four Democrats and four Republicans sponsoring the bill likely face a months-long battle, with the biggest challenge expected in the Republican-led House of Representatives. (With a report from Reuters)

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